What’s in a name?

June 21, 2018 by Dr. Jack Graham

And he [God] said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

–Genesis 32:27-28

Today’s verse reveals something very important about the work of God in your life and mine. Think about this with me.

Why did the Lord ask Jacob his name? Don’t you think he knew Jacob’s name? Sure he did. But he wanted Jacob to understand something about himself. 

You see the name Jacob means “trickster.” And Jacob had certainly lived up to his name. So when he told God his name, he was confessing who he really was. To answer, “I am Jacob,” was to confess to God, “I’m a liar and I’m a cheater.”

And do you know what God did next? He blessed Jacob! God gave him a new identity and a new name, Israel! No longer would Jacob be a conniving manipulator. He became the progenitor of the twelve tribes of Israel. And his faith found a place of honor in the book of Hebrews “Hall of Faith.” 

Listen! Regardless of your past and what you’ve done, God can give you a fresh start.

Confess your sin and surrender to his love and authority. Let this be the day you claim your true identity in Christ.


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